Sunday, 4 July 2021

I'm taking some time out (from social media)

Just a few days ago I was once again forced to confront my recent heath "detour" with an early start, all rugged up in the chilly darkness. I had to be at the hospital before 7am so I'd had little sleep, but I knew the anaesthetic would soon fix that as I was about to embark on another lot of surgery. Going through those hospital doors always brings some anxiety and I counted in my diary that this was visit number 41 since my diagnosis last year and only 6 of them were with Larry.....Covid put a stop to that and I can tell you enduring life saving procedures (especially the weekly chemo), was really tough without him beside me.......

According to my consent form this recent procedure was "excision of redundant tissue post bilateral mastectomies". When the surgeon's nurse rang me the next day she asked if I was feeling "trussed up" which made me immediately think of the Christmas turkey! Not sure how it feels but I do know sleep is not so comfortable as now my original wounds extend around to my back......almost feels like I was partially decapitated and stitched back up again! I have another anaesthetic in 2 weeks, this time to remove the BRCA2 threat of ovarian cancer. Sometimes I feel that this is overkill and maybe 'ignorance is bliss' but one has to go with the medical advice from my specialists. Knowing I have this gene defect also carries the risk of pancreatic cancer, melanoma and colon and stomach cancer, but who knows what tomorrow will bring for any of us?. So days by the seaside even in the winter chill are so nice but I felt for the young ones still doing their life saving training.......




During this vulnerable time I have found issues from my past have resurfaced and I am reminded of many of them every day. One of them is that I have never truly got over how difficult publishing my William Morris books really was. I have little financial reward to show for it but I certainly have incredible memories that would not have happened without the books...especially the William Morris Tours both in the UK and at home. I still feel sad when I see the books are still selling and any royalty payment (that only comes once a year), hardly covers a new outfit! Merchandise are still produced and for me there is no royalty at all.......I am certainly not a business person! More recently Instagram has been flooded with images of my designs in Russia. Another regretful decision that I did signing over the rights for the books to be printed in Russian all for a pittance so that I receive no royalty at all....but I am glad the books bring others joy and I hope William Morris would be pleased.......
When you become an author you are encouraged to have social media exposure including Facebook, Instagram (which I only did more recently), and of course to be a blogger which was the common thing back then. This is something I have struggled with all along when I started my blog back in 2008. I am not good at any sort of sales pitch or with being the centre of attention, but I have so loved meeting so many of you through this platform. So one of the reasons for this post is to say I am going to be taking some time out from social media for a few weeks. Being vulnerable has meant my normal positivity has taken a back seat. Having been the one who almost always instigates family and friend catch ups has tested me and is one of the things I have more recently struggled with.  A couple of health professionals have noticed a change in my demeanour and had suggested I seek some counselling. So the day before this most recent surgery I had my first session with the most delightful psychologist who patiently listened to me for one and half hours......what a lovely smile Nicole has and her empathy and understanding shows.....
Inevitably the tears welled up but I know this is going to be a very positive thing for me to do. While I am grateful my hair is growing back it is truly challenging trying to manage it knowing it will possibly be two years before I look like I used to! I am grateful for life saving surgery and treatment but the disfigurement and discomfort is there to remind me each day. The pins and needles in the feet and the dropping of items from my numb hands, along with the other chemo side effects continue to linger and test my patience.....just for now as I know this too will pass. And I know I am not alone and so many others are in much worse situations than me....especially with all that the pandemic has brought to the world. I have followed two other breast cancer women who both have a high profile in media. They have both been incredibly positive and such fun to follow cheering me up each day with their cheeky sense of humour as they face treatment......but more recently they too have suffered mentally and I have to say that was incredibly reassuring to me as they are both such very positive people. So for now I will immerse myself in helping others through charity group projects even using some help on some days.......

She doesn't know it yet but when she turns 7 in a couple of weeks she is getting her first sewing machine from us! But she does know this was being made as she wanted dolls like her Kindikids but she hasn't seen the final quilt........

William Morris will always be a big part of my life and just recently I saw that Next Fashion had teamed up with Morris & Co to produce some Morris inspired fashion. I am not one to buy online but these shirts arrived from the UK in just one week!......


I'm not sure Morris would be pleased with the quality and price but my two treasures have already been washed and tucked away for when the warmer season returns. I wish I could talk Larry into a piece or two but for now I will just admire.......the model and all!!.......
I did talk Larry into a radical change in our open plan kitchen/family room though......much to his angst!! Some time back we bought a new refrigerator using power saving "Inverter" technology. Whilst we welcomed a much quieter fridge we weren't told that they run for 45 minutes and are quiet for only 15 minutes every hour! I sit in the family room for most of my TV viewing while Larry is in his snug. The noise does my head in so I talked him into moving it out to our laundry/utility room! What bliss it now is.......we might not be able to get out the back laundry door but we hardly used that door anyway .....happy wife happy life they say! My left ear was the target and you can see how close it used to be.....
With a quick measure I worked out that a corner unit that used to be near the dining table fitted perfectly where the fridge used to be and while the laundry seems smaller it has certainly been a welcome change........

I will conclude with some more happiness that warms my heart. Brenda messaged me a day or so ago with a photo of her "William and May" quilt and what a beauty it is. It sure makes me happy that others enjoy turning my drawings into lasting treasures so thankyou for all of that Brenda (and Julie).......

Thankyou for reading this far......and thankyou for your understanding while I have some much needed time out. With the way time flies I am sure I will be back soon but if not you know the reason why. Do take good care and be safe and well xx

Friday, 11 June 2021

The Swing of a Pendulum

 Oh my goodness.....is it really another month since I last posted??! All I can say is "Crikey's" and I know a few of you will chuckle at that as crikey's is one of my favourite words! So with much thought here goes.....all about the "Swing of the Pendulum"! Pendulum seems like the perfect word right now......moving forward and backwards (or maybe side to side ), with the force of gravity...well maybe with what life throws us is a better description! While I was deep in thought with the word pendulum I came across this meaningful yet simple poem from a retired academic Julian Scutts who has a fascinating repertoire of literary analysis......Folklore, Goethe and Romantic Poetry amongst other fascinating topics.... 

MY OLD CLOCK (Source)

Sometimes fast
and sometimes slow,
the pendulum swings
to and fro.
Is it early?
Is it late?
Let's leave our cares 
to time and fate.

My grandparents had the most wonderful grandfather clock similar to this one and I can recall being hypnotised by the swinging pendulum.....maybe I am feeling nostalgic but how I would love one of these clocks.......the wonderful deep chime and the slow tick, tock, tick, tock,........

I have touched before on one of our daughter's struggles with mental illness and I still to this day struggle with the stigma and judgement of others and especially the lack of medical understanding of it all. So how fortuitous that just last week I captured Wade and his Mum swinging on a pendulum........he is always looking out for her as you can see in his face......

I am still on the pendulum of being grateful for life, but also knowing life will never be quite the same after cancer stole part of my anatomy, stole my hair (and just last week I had my first haircut post chemo to remove the crazy chemo curls....but after a week those crazy curls are back!!), stole the feeling in my hands and feet, stole my ability to create new work, stole my ability to escort my William Morris Tours and unexpectedly stole some of my patience and tolerance of others. 

Wikipedia tells us a pendulum "is a weight suspended from a pivot so it can swing freely" Can we really swing freely? With time I hope to find balance on this pendulum and swing freely as I wait for the "end" (hopefully!!), of treatment...two more lots of surgery with one in just under 3 weeks. A few weeks ago we drove the four and a bit hour to Robe for a few nights away where one night we celebrated 43 years of marriage in front of a cosy fire......
The scenery and fresh air always clears the mind........






A visit to Robe must include a visit to Mahalia Coffee that is not just a roasting house but a place of other temptations.......



We also had a surprise visit while in Robe from Judy and friends who drove a couple of hours to visit us! It was such a special treat as we nattered over a fish and chip lunch......thankyou so much for coming...it was just wonderful to see you all again xxx

Some weeks back we had a couple of lovely hours wandering the streets of Port Adelaide and the historic buildings always delight.........
We noticed on the wharf there are plans to build a new Rydges Hotel and the banner shows the design. The pendulum is most definitely swinging in the right direction with my tick of approval with the architectural design reflecting the heritage of this historic area........
More sights from our amble.......






Since I last posted I had a very positive swing on the pendulum when Emily raised over $5,000 for the Cancer Council's Biggest Morning Tea! I will be eternally grateful to so many friends who made this possible....thankyou does not seem enough and I know it is going to such a great cause.....
A couple of posts ago I shared some wonderful miniatures created by a couple in the UK and my order for the spool holder arrived last week. I cannot comprehend the patience and skill to create something so tiny and you can see I needed tweezers to place the spools on the holder. I also placed a small pin beside them to give some perspective....... 


I am so thrilled with it all and the bonus is it doesn't take up too much room on the shelf!!......
So as the pendulum continues to swing we cherish moments with family with Wade and Maisie counting as they play hide and seek with us all........
So I am going to conclude with some wonderful news! Emily finally received her genetic testing results and she is free of the BRCA2 gene mutation. We are of course ecstatic as it means it has stopped at her generation. Our other daughter still needs to be tested at some stage down the track so for now we will celebrate this milestone......as the pendulum continues to swing! I hope it is swinging back and forth in the right way for you x